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An Overview: The Research Process

The research process is complex and multilayered. This tutorial provides an overview and some practical strategies you can use.

An image of a pyramid with books, podcasts, and longform articles at the bottom, TED talks and news sources in the middle, and social media sites at the top. The pyramid is meant to emulate the Food Pyramid.

Evaluation of sources is an important part of the research process. It is important to find a balance between credibility and relevancy. If you're using outdated, unreliable, or simply non-factual information and sources, your project (e.g. paper or speech) isn't going to meet your professor's expectations.

Sometimes you can tell if a resource is bad pretty quickly. For instance, would you use the National Enquirer as a credible resource? Most likely not. However, it could be a relevant source if your topic was about sensationalism in the media.

It may help to think of information the same way you think about food. Some foods are healthier than others. For your research and information "diet", you'll want sources, like academic articles, newspaper articles, or business reports. Use sparingly, sources such as unfounded claims, sensationalism, etc.

Image credit: Our Information Diet. (2013, October 7). The Ecquire Blog. Retrieved from http://ecquire.com/blog/our-information-diet/